Saturday, July 1, 2017

Three Films Make A Post: Bullets. Blood. Bingo.

Antibirth (2016): This may very well be the platonic ideal of the pointlessly weird pseudo-art house movie. It’s ninety minutes of time, energy, and lysergic colours wasted on telling us that weird stuff is weird, and look how weird this film is, weird huh? Which, obviously, is the least weird any film can get. Consequently, this features all the hallmarks of a film that isn’t genuinely weird because it is its nature, or the best way it knows to speak about its reality, or because the people making it are actually strange, but because it believes posing as the local cinematic weirdo will give it hipster points.

It’s a tiresome approach to filmmaking, replacing the spark of strange creativity with the mere imitation of it.

Cool Air (2006): On the other hand, things can always be worse. How about, for example, this abominable Albert Pyun “adaptation” of Lovecraft’s “Cool Air” that makes Chill another, pretty damn bad version of the same story look like a product of genius. Apart from the typical horrors of digital era Pyun that add bad sound, ugly colours and the unthinkable fact he can make movies on his own dime now to Pyun’s multitude of other failings as a director, this one also pisses all over Lovecraft by having lead “actor” Morgan Weisser badly read some sentences from the original story aloud as part of his off-screen monologue. Worse, Lovecraft’s words incredibly amateurishly segue into crap written by whoever credited writer Cynthia Curnan is that tonally fits about as well as the traditional lipstick on a pick (no offense to cross-dressing pigs). To bring the nine page or so story this is supposed to be based on to feature length, Pyun adds much of his patented tedium (the opening credits alone steal five minutes of your life!). I think I’m gonna faint now.

Manhole aka 맨홀 (2013): Compared to the mess I’ve watched before it, Shin Jae-young’s South Korean thriller is downright brilliant. Looked at in a more realistic light, the film is a stylish, suspenseful and generally effective serial abductor/killer thriller that suffers a bit from laying things on too thick in the melodrama stakes, as is not exactly atypical for South Korean movies. It’s also a rather implausible film full of dubious motivations and South Korean Keystone Kops, but for most of the time – at least while watching – I found myself perfectly willing to buy into things thanks to the pleasantly glossy (even when everything looks grubby) filmmaking.

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